Warriors snag win over Lumberjacks, 27-19
The Warriors toppled the Lumberjacks Friday night at Richwood, 27-19, in the Warriors' first win of the season.
Warrior head coach Chris Sutton said the squad has been trying different offensive formations this year, and they may have found their niche.
Earlier in the season, the team tried using a single-wing, or Wildcat, formation where there is essentially no quarterback — the ball is snapped to whichever running back is moving the football that play. Friday night Sutton said the team went back to a more traditional
I-formation, an offensive set-up the boys are more familiar with.
“When we changed the offense to the I-formation; that might've been the key,” remarked Sutton. “It's an offense they've run since junior high, they're used to it and they felt comfortable with it. It definitely looked like a new team out there, they were able to run the ball very well and we also got some pretty good pass-yardage out of it.”
Sutton said if a team isn't confident or familiar with a formation, it can take a toll on the team's overall performance.
“I don't think we've been able to sell the single-wing formation to our guys,” he said. “I think if you've got an offense your guys aren't buying into, then of course it's gonna be hard to run. You have to take it week by week. I definitely feel more comfortable playing an I-formation now, because the kids feel comfortable with it.”
The single-wing arrangement proved valuable last year, when opposing defenses weren't expecting the unorthodox formation.
“Last year when we'd run it here and there, it was very successful — we'd get big yardage,” he said. “I think it's because the other team was prepared for a traditional scheme, and we threw 'em off. If we use the single-wing like that, where we're throwing it in every once in a while, it'll catch them off guard and I think it'll work really well.”
Sutton said they tried that last week against Richwood, and it seemed to work pretty well.
“We ran it twice, ran the same play back to back,” said Sutton. “The first time it got us about twelve yards, but that was after we'd been in the I-formation for a while. Whenever we went to single-wing, it was a shock, they weren't quite sure what to do. You change it up and it kind of throws them off a bit.”
Catching the Lumberjack defense off-guard was the theme of the evening according to Sutton.
“A lot of times we got pretty good yardage out of Devin [Rose] and we were able to get the ball into Kyler's [Doss] hands quite a bit, but then we'd use Spencer [McCoy] — they weren't expecting the big fullback to get the football, so that worked well.”
It worked so well that all three running backs ran for 100+ yards.
“We had three backs with over 100 yards, so offensively, we feel great,” said Sutton. “That's huge, you get two backs with a hundred yards, that's good, but three backs — that's rare. It means we're getting the ball into different hands and they're running the ball hard. Very happy overall with the offense.”
Sutton said he was pleased with the Warrior's defensive performance, but after watching the game footage, he saw some room for improvement.
“Defensively, going back and watching the film, a lot of times it looks like we're losing because of speed, but a lot of it was our linebackers missing their reads, their pursuit angles. We're trying to get our middle linebackers to push the football from inside out. Whenever you do that, it closes off those cut-back lanes. Even if teams come in that are faster, we should be able to contain them,” he said.
Sutton said the coaching staff has been going over defensive schemes for next week's showdown against the Chargers. Coincidentally, this season, Bath County has been running the same single-wing formation the Warriors were testing earlier this year.
“We're looking at how Bath County runs and how we're gonna line up our defense against them,” said Sutton. “Bath County is running the single-wing, so now we're looking at it from the other side. How're we gonna line up to stop them? Having run it before, it's gonna be a little bit easier on our scout team.”
Sutton said the squad will continue to focus on blocking in practice this week and also working with their linebackers and pursuit angles.
According to Sutton, the Warriors are being cautious when they host Bath County this week. He said the Chargers had a tough early-season schedule, like the Warriors this year, so the Chargers' 1-3 record isn't a good indication of the team's ability.
“You really got look at who they played, not what their record is,” warned Sutton.
Last week's win leaves the Warriors with a mid-season record of 1-4. The Warriors are scheduled to play at home against the Bath County Chargers on Friday, September 28, at 7:30 p.m.
To see more photos from the game, visit http://www.pocahontastimes.com/gallery/2012/09/27/warriors-v-lumberjacks